Engage Comms Director Helen Gill was asked to speak at a Credit Services Association (CSA) event for its smaller credit management and collections members. She shared the following B2B service sector marketing tips with delegates:
In times of crisis such as the recession we are now entering, it’s tempting to turn to old “tried-and-tested” methods for developing and growing your business. But if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that ‘business as usual’ will no longer cut it. We must adapt quickly to ever-changing times to survive.
‘Cold’ approaches and direct selling are unlikely to work in the B2B service sector in 2022. The already complex buying process has become even more complex and buyers even more savvy. It’s time for a new approach – and it doesn’t have to be very costly. Here are five things to think about:
- Play a ‘long game’
Rather than chasing after ‘quick wins’, it’s important to have a strategy for long term growth and stick to it with any marketing and business development activities. This will mean that you focus on the lifetime value of a prospect instead of just what you could get out of them today, making your business more sustainable, keeping your reputation and credibility in tact, and ensuring that any investment in new business pays off long-term.
- Make sure you’re getting the basics right
You can do all sorts of things to make people aware of your company and services but when they get to your website or speak to you, are you making the right first impression? Does your brand look professional and are you clearly articulating exactly what you do/who you are? Taking a step back from the day job and getting a fresh perspective on this is really important, especially at a time when there will be a new demographic of customers who’ve never needed to use your type of services before. Even if it sounds obvious, make sure it ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’ so you’re not missing opportunities to engage new audiences.
- Offer a solution to your prospects’ problems
In times of crisis, many of your prospects will be kept awake at night by their business problems. Just as consumers need reassuring when collections firms approach them about their debts, clients need reassuring that you have a credible and professional solution to their problem. You need to sell them the outcomes of what you do, not just the service. Think about what impact you can have on their business and talk to them in their language. Nobody likes talking about debt or chasing debts from their customers who they may have strong relationships with. Your aim should be to remove the ‘pain points’ by taking the uncomfortable tasks away from your clients so they can focus on what they love doing.
- Educate and inform
Many prospective clients of smaller credit management and collections firms will not even be aware that the service exists or is relevant to them, and many won’t need your services right now. If they aren’t searching for you, you will need to get ‘front of mind’ with them by approaching them via social media like LinkedIn, securing speaking opportunities at their sector events, or writing articles for their sector media. Rather than just selling your wares, you will need to educate and inform them about how your services can help them and make them aware that you are the best people to call should they need help.
- People buy people
Finally, remember that you’re not selling a financial services product, you are selling your skills and expertise, so don’t forget to bring a ‘human touch’ to it and showcase the real people within your business. Client relationships are king, people like to work with people they know and trust and you can build that trust by sharing your expertise in a personable way and ensuring your team is as approachable as possible. This will not only lead to new clients but will turn those clients into ‘brand ambassadors’ who refer their contacts to you.
Engage Comms is offering to conduct a communications audit, including recommendations for ways to maximise your marketing strategy, to CSA Member companies, at a reduced rate in January 2023. Get in touch to find out more.
Engage Comms is a multi award-winning B2B marketing communications consultancy founded in 2012 by experienced PR and comms professionals Jo Parker and Helen Gill. In 2013, we were commissioned by Credit Services Association (CSA) to undertake an in-depth piece of research into consumer and stakeholder perceptions of the credit management, collections, and debt purchase sector. Our findings and recommendations were used as a blueprint for transforming the way the industry engaged with its audiences online and off. We have since worked with organisations and businesses across the whole credit and debt landscape on strategic marketing comms projects, as well as continuing work with a range of clients, from SMEs to national organisations, in other niche sectors.
Contact our Director and debt sector specialist, Helen Gill: firstname.lastname@example.org.